January 24, 2023
Sicily-Rome American Cemetery, Nettuno
(As prepared for delivery)
Thank you, Melanie. Admiral Ishee, VADM Gueglio, Ambassadors, mayors, and the family of Mr. Taurelli, good morning. Vorrei dare il benvenuto agli studenti dell’Istituto Comprensivo Nettuno III. Voi rappresentate il futuro dell’Italia, dell’Europa e dell’Alleanza Transatlantica. La vostra partecipazione qui oggi, è ciò che rende eterno il sacrificio di questi giovani uomini e giovani donne.
Thank you to the local community for the ceremonies this past weekend marking the 79th anniversary of the landing of Allied troops in Anzio and Nettuno. Thank you as well to all of the staff of the American Battle Monuments Commission, which has been caring for memorials such as this one for 100 years.
This cemetery, and monuments like it, continue to remind us that freedom and democracy should never be taken for granted. Last year at this time, most of us never imagined that we would see war again in Europe or that Russia would launch a brutal, full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Today, the United States, Italy, and all of Europe are united in our support for the Ukrainians bravely fighting for their freedom.
In a cemetery just like this one outside Tunis, a headstone marks the grave of Private Nicholas Minue. Private Minue, who was born in Ukraine and immigrated to the United States, won the Congressional medal of honor fighting with the 1st Armored Division. He was 38 years old when killed in action.
His age would have allowed him to avoid combat, but he insisted on defending his new country. Thank you for joining us as we remember the heroes buried throughout Europe, and all those defending our freedom today. Grazie.